I’m just curious why the queue isn’t designed to skip over queued items that have missing components to an item that does not? And while on the subject, why is staggering orders a thing? Why isn’t it that I can allocate my various production facilities to do just one thing over and over again rather than having them all draw from a queue that can get stuck waiting for a extractor or rig etc.?
Why isn’t space smarter? Why is it so tedious? Is this how the game is intended to be played?
Recurring orders hasn’t really fixed any of the actual problems with the production mechanics, it’s simply put a little band-aid on it. That is made worse knowing a new feature was rolled, in a feature that has had numerous excellent suggestions for fixes and updates, that barely scratched the surface. And worse still by the reality that a feature roll meant that there were developers actually looking at and manipulating the source for that feature.
This is a game of micros. You can set currency orders and shipment requests to four digits after the decimal (ICA 1.0050), but you can’t prioritize a facility for one purpose without organizing the papers in your inbox in a special way and making sure that order is never altered. You can fly from star system to star system setting precise calculations in order to maximize fuel efficiency by traveling when two orbital bodies are at their closest approach, but you can’t cancel that trip and simply turn around if your mind or circumstances change.
The player base could have dealt with the previous system for longer if there was hope for a meaningful attempt at fixing the major issues with gameplay, and really it is only about gameplay, but they likely won’t respond well to half or nil attempts like most game developers these days put out.
It’s unfortunate too, because this game has so much potential, I’ve had a lot of fun, but that fun has been laden with annoyance and frustration over the absence of the simplest of things, like the ability to search for a system in the map without having to click on every single system just to find the one you want. Unless, that’s how the game is intended to be played.
Production lines (and the whole production system) are one of the first things we implemented when Prosperous Universe came to life around five years ago. Back then it was just Martin and me and we had no dedicated game designer. It is obvious that this shows all over the place.
Around 2 years ago, we started the 7th alpha test (the current universe) and made the decision that with this alpha we want to concentrate on features, mid- and end-game content. During that period Fabian joined as a game designer and started to work on these new features. The alpha test was never intended to run this long and as the time passed the player got bigger and bigger companies and managing them became really cumbersome. That is why we recently asked about your favorite quality of life improvements and started to implement a few of them.
We could have promised the perfect production system instead, asked for the players’ requirements etc etc, but “perfection is the enemy of progress” as they say. We’d rather implement and test new game mechanics than re-iterate over and over the old ones to make them perfect. This doesn’t mean that we won’t improve existing features, but a whole re-write binds a lot dev resources and we don’t have that.
Often times, as many of the long time players can tell you, we only implement the bare minimum of a feature to see how it works and turns out. Later we come back and add the missing parts to it: building repair button, test flights, warehouse extensions, to just name a few recent examples. The reason for that is that we deal with a lot of constraints and not because we are in a secret game-dev-club that wants to make players’ lives miserable
I hope that explains at least a bit why things are as they are!
I appreciate your explanation, and your efforts so far, really it has been an achievement. Unfortunately, that actually confirms the fear I had. You say it was one of the first features added 5 years ago, and here we are down the line and you say you don’t want to reiterate old features you want to implement and test new ones, and effectively described the effort as being the work of one person. Which means that your teams efforts aren’t after improving gameplay it’s after loading the game up with more features.
There’s a huge list of games that have gone this route, Elite Dangerous, Ark Survival Evolved, just to name a couple. Elite is 6 years old and they decided the same thing, not to address base systems and fix them, it was recently free and can be found for less than $5 in some places, and that’s a fully 3D enviro with all the trimmings etc. Ark, had the same fate, and so did it’s sister title Atlas which is $4 on some stores right now. They focused on features and not gameplay and now their games are being relegated to the past.
My concern is that ProUn will suffer the same fate before it’s even launched simply because it’s gameplay mechanics put it in an extremely niche` market where the player base could be big but realistically isn’t that large. I personally could convince my dad who’s like 80 to play because he’s an accountant and while there is a lot of depth in the game it’s mostly in an arena he actually excels in. This game has the potential to be a teaching tool for kids understanding how markets work, and that list also goes on and on.
But not if the gameplay is tedious. And from what I read of your reply, the answer to my question is, yes, this is how it is intended to be played? And with a soon to come monthly subscription no less.
You make it sound (or at least I understand it that way) like we are adding features just for the sake of it, which is not true. It is not our goal to have an endless series of un-connected features. It is rather the opposite, we want features that add to the sandbox and allow emergent gameplay.
Some aspects of the game can become tedious at some point, especially due to the length of this alpha test. In the last months this has led to some very constructive discussions with the community (and of course internal ones) how to change or mitigate that. We started to work on that and the recurring production orders are one of the first examples. Of course you can think of that as just putting band aids on it and not entirely fix it, but for us it is a very interesting compromise as we make a lot of players happy and still have time to work on the game as a whole.